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Old Feb 26, 11, 2:31 am   #1
 
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Traveling Alone to Barcelona-Madrid-Valencia?

Hi All,

I am thinking about traveling to Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia by myself sometime in May or June. Because I can't speak any Spanish and have heard stories about thieves in Spain (also I'm female), could you please let me know if it's safe to travel to those three cities? I am an experienced traveler and exercise good common sense, but just want to make sure that it'll be alright!

Also, I'm mainly going for the architecture - Should I join an organized tour? Or should I just wander around with a good map?

Thanks for the suggestions!

Carey
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Old Feb 26, 11, 1:37 pm   #2
 
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I'm female and travel alone regularly. I don't know about Barcelona or Valencia, but I've traveled alone in Madrid and didn't have any problems. During the day, I can't remember being told that any area was unsafe, but I was told not to walk in the Parque del Retiro after dark. When I'm in a new city, I always ask the reception people at the hotel if there are any areas where I should stay out of in the day and/or in the night. I personally think that a lot of it has to do with common sense and making sure that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. At night stay in well lit areas where people are around.
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Old Feb 27, 11, 3:25 am   #3
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I'm male and the only thing I'm scared of in Barca is the women. It's very safe during the day and most of the night except perhaps very late. Just stay clear of Rambla after midnight.

Valencia is very safe.
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Old Feb 27, 11, 4:32 am   #4
 
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Thanks!

Thank you two!
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Old Feb 27, 11, 6:25 am   #5
uk1
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It's safe ..... but just be aware in Spain, in particular Barcelona, and in very particular Ramblas ....... that there is an increasing frequency of snatches and the "bird poo" scam where you're squirted with something like yoghurt and people come and help by patting you down .....

No personal safety issues .. just if it happens you push people very firmly away that come to help and makes some noise and you will be fine. As with all prudent travel - keep excess cash to the minimum. Leave the passport in the safe but keep a photocopy with you and don't look too affluent!

For what it's worth ... I know NY is safer these days but I feel a whole lot safer in pretty much anywhere in europe than many places state-side!
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Old Feb 28, 11, 4:12 am   #6
 
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Las Ramblas

Thanks for all your posts so far!

It seems that most of the flamenco/spanish guitar shows take place in Las Ramblas. They end around 21:30. Would that be too late? I'd like to just enjoy the show, then get a taxi back to my hotel...Hopefully that'll be alright?

Thanks,

Carey
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Old Feb 28, 11, 4:29 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barthouston View Post
Thanks for all your posts so far!

It seems that most of the flamenco/spanish guitar shows take place in Las Ramblas. They end around 21:30. Would that be too late? I'd like to just enjoy the show, then get a taxi back to my hotel...Hopefully that'll be alright?

Thanks,

Carey
Well you're not going to see much of spain if you are going home before 21:30!

You're not walking into some Indian Jones toumb with spears coming at you and killer bats.

Just normal street smart behaviour - the type that should be practiced normally as a matter of course EVERYWHERE - and you will be fine.

Last edited by David-A; Feb 28, 11 at 6:16 am.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 4:54 am   #8
uk1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barthouston View Post
Thanks for all your posts so far!

It seems that most of the flamenco/spanish guitar shows take place in Las Ramblas. They end around 21:30. Would that be too late? I'd like to just enjoy the show, then get a taxi back to my hotel...Hopefully that'll be alright?

Thanks,

Carey
With Flamenco shows you'll need to check specific performance times as they vary. If it's around the Ramblas area it'll be quite touristy so you may want to ask the concierge if he knows of anything else happening as well.

I stayed on the Ramblas and whilst there are tourists during the day nightlife only starts at around 11pm with people going to clubs and at 6am people start home ......

On the same basis you may find lunch odd in that no one (except tourists) seems to arrive before 1 or 2pm - except the Germans who arrive at 11:30 to "get the best seat" and seem totally perplexed to find places haven't even opened yet.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 2:01 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by uk1 View Post
With Flamenco shows you'll need to check specific performance times as they vary. If it's around the Ramblas area it'll be quite touristy so you may want to ask the concierge if he knows of anything else happening as well.
That's the best advice if you don't have any friends in the area. Have a talk with a concierge at any 5 star hotel and find what works best for you. I recall a great flamenco place just off Plaza Mayor, but I don't know the dates and times of the shows.
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Old Jan 30, 12, 7:41 pm   #10
 
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What are the cheapest, yet decent enough flamenco shows? Im looking for something fun after a nice Spanish dinner to enjoy some flamenco and rioja.
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Old Jan 31, 12, 12:33 am   #11
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What are the cheapest, yet decent enough flamenco shows? Im looking for something fun after a nice Spanish dinner to enjoy some flamenco and rioja.
On a recent trip we got some great advice from a local taxi driver. Sorry, but I don't recall the details except that none of the decent ones are cheap.
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Old Jan 31, 12, 1:40 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by SkyTeam777 View Post
What are the cheapest, yet decent enough flamenco shows? Im looking for something fun after a nice Spanish dinner to enjoy some flamenco and rioja.
Not sure what city this is about... (Madrid? Barcelona? Both "Ramblas" and "Plaza Mayor" are mentioned in the last few posts...)

But if you are looking in Barcelona, 2 remarks:
1. Keep in mind that Flamenco is not a "Barcelona" thing... (Sorry, had to mention it... )
2. A good listing of Flamenco concerts (if you understand some basic Spanish) is la Guia del Ocio. It's a "what's on this week" guide, and this link brings you straight to the list of Flamenco concerts in Barcelona, updated every week. These tend to be not the "tourist trap shows", but actual concerts of Flamenco groups. (Disclaimer: I have not seen any Flamenco concert myself here for at least 10 years...)
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Old Jan 31, 12, 1:42 pm   #13
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1. Keep in mind that Flamenco is not a "Barcelona" thing... (Sorry, had to mention it... )
Well it's not really a Madrid thing either. But both cities do attract a lot of tourists so the Flamenco artists are present.
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Old Jan 31, 12, 1:58 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barthouston View Post
Thanks for all your posts so far!

It seems that most of the flamenco/spanish guitar shows take place in Las Ramblas. They end around 21:30. Would that be too late? I'd like to just enjoy the show, then get a taxi back to my hotel...Hopefully that'll be alright?

Thanks,

Carey
u can see better flamenco shows in madrid.
we visited Flamenco Restaurant El Corral de la Morerķa approx 3 years ago had a wonderful time.

Last edited by kburges; Jan 31, 12 at 2:03 pm.
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Old Jan 31, 12, 1:59 pm   #15
 
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As this is a frequent traveler site...
why not take the plane to Sevilla? the trip is just about 1 hour and you're almost guaranteed to find flamenco here.

You can either go for the turistic places (tablao arenal, etc) or cross the river, get to the Triana barrio and look for semi-hidden places in less crowded street... I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

I was there some time ago and it was definitely worth it. Also to reconnect the OP, Sevilla felt safe, except the most peripheral barrios (where obviously my hotel happened to be ). Nothing to worry too much anyway, if you are careful.

straniero

Last edited by straniero; Jan 31, 12 at 2:04 pm. Reason: perfectly is such a big word
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